International Parental Child Abduction

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Country Information

Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
Exercise increased caution in the Dominican Republic due to crime.

Exercise increased caution in the Dominican Republic due to crime.

Violent crime, such as robbery, murder, and sexual assault, is common. The wide availability of weapons, the use and trade of illicit drugs, and a weak criminal justice system contribute to the high level of criminality.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to the Dominican Republic:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for the Dominican Republic.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
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Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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ALL /
Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo

Av. República de Colombia #57
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Telephone: +(809) 567-7775
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(809) 567-7775, Ext. 1 
Email: 
Hours: Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM except U.S. and Dominican holidays 

Consulates

U.S. Consular Agent - Puerto Plata
Calle Villanueva esq. Avenida John F. Kennedy
Edificio Abraxa Libraria, 2nd floor
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Telephone: +(809) 586-8017, +(809) 586-8023
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: (809) 368-7777
Email: PuertoPlataConsularAgency@state.gov
Hours: Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM except U.S. and Dominican holidays

General Information

The Dominican Republic and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since June 1, 2007.

For information concerning travel to the Dominican Republic, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, health conditions, currency and entry regulations, and crime and security, please see country-specific information for the Dominican Republic.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including the Dominican Republic.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign central authority.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 202-485-6221
Websit
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The Dominican Republic Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Consejo Nacional para la Ninez y Adolescencia (CONANI).  CONANI’s role is to perform the duties given to central authorities under the Hague Abduction Convention, including processing Hague Abduction Convention applications for return of and access to children.

They can be reached at:

Central Consejo Nacional para la Niñez y Adolescencia (CONANI)
Avenida Máximo Gómez,
esq. República de Paraguay
No. 154, Ens. La Fé, Santo Domingo
Distrito Nacional, República Dominicana.
Apartado Postal 2081
Telephone: 809-567-2233
Fax: 809-567-2494 / 809-472-8343
E-mail: conani@conani.gov.do
Website

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in the Dominican Republic, the left-behind parent must submit a Hague application to CONANI.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to CONANI, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or the Dominican Republic.  Attorney fees, if necessary, are the sole responsibility of the person hiring the attorney.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in the Dominican Republic.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in the Dominican Republic.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

Retaining an Attorney

Retaining a private attorney is not required in order to file Hague Abduction Convention applications with courts in the Dominican Republic. CONANI will file the case with the court, but will not represent the interests of either party; instead, CONANI represents the Hague application. However, parents should consider hiring a private attorney to follow up on cases, directly provide information to courts, and generally advise courses of action appropriate for their individual circumstances. A privately-hired attorney should contact CONANI as soon as possible after the Hague Abduction Convention application has been filed. 

The U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firm contained on the list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

Mediation

In Hague Abduction Convention cases, CONANI encourages but does not require mediation before sending a case to a court. Mediation is also strongly encouraged by Dominican judges during judicial procedures.  If requested by the parties, CONANI provides mediation services free of charge in Hague Convention cases.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Last Updated: February 13, 2015

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo
Av. República de Colombia #57
Santo Domingo,
Dominican Republic
Telephone
+(809) 567-7775
Emergency
+(809) 567-7775, Ext. 1
Fax
No Fax
Dominican Republic Map